What Causes Cataracts?

Cataracts are a common eye condition, affecting almost 25 million over the age of 40 in the United States alone. And the numbers only increase with age: By the age of 80, half of Americans either have cataracts or have had corrective surgery to address cataracts.

Here at KLM Eye MDs, we specialize in cataract diagnosis and treatment, offering our patients in Brooklyn and the greater New York area the most advanced care. Dr. Mark A. Lebowitz and Dr. Elena Geller use the latest surgical techniques to help patients regain clear vision.

Here’s a look at what causes cataracts.

The clouding over

To better understand how a cataract develops, it’s helpful to step back and take a quick look at the structure of your eye.

Your eyes use light to create images. The lights first pass through the tear film and then through the cornea, the clear surface of your eye. From there, your pupil controls how much light passes through to your lens, which focuses the light, much like a camera lens does, and sends it to your retina. Your retina converts the light into electrical signals that your optic nerve delivers to your brain. Your brain then creates an image based on the information it receives.

A cataract is a problem in your lens, which is made mostly from water and protein. When the proteins in your lens begin to denature, the lens becomes cloudy, impairing your vision.

Symptoms of cataract formation include general clouding of distance and near vision,  overall dimming of your vision, decreased contrast sensitivity and altered color perception, trouble with night vision, increased sensitivity to glare, as well as halos around bright objects.

The causes of cataracts

Cataracts can develop in one or both of your eyes, and the most common reason is simply age. The proteins in your lens begin to naturally break down after 40, and the problem gets progressively worse the older you get.

There are other factors that make you more prone to cataracts, such as heredity.  In rare cases, people are born with congenital cataracts. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, such as diabetes, you’re susceptible to developing cataracts more quickly and at a younger age.

Extenuating circumstances, such as time spent in the sun or an injury to your eye, may also contribute to cataracts, as well as lifestyle choices like smoking.

Cataract Surgery

The good news is that no matter how you developed cataracts, we offer a procedure that can improve your vision.

At KLM Eye MDs, Dr.Lebowitz and Dr.Geller perform cataract surgery, where the clouded natural lens of the eye is replaced by a clear intraocular lens.  All of our cataract surgery is done on-site at Brooklyn Eye Surgery Center, which offers the latest technology for refractive and laser-assisted cataract surgery, including the Alcon Centurion System, LenSX Laser®, and the ORA System®.  We also offer a variety of intraocular lenses, including monofocal lenses, toric lenses as well as multifocal and extended depth of focus lenses to give you the best possible post-operative results.

If you suspect that you have cataracts, please give us a call so we can diagnose your condition and come up with an appropriate treatment plan. You can also schedule a comprehensive eye exam using the online scheduling tool.

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